A curfew will be imposed on the entire territory of the province of Antwerp as authorities race to contain a steady surge in new coronavirus cases.
Stopping short of imposing a new all-out lockdown, authorities decided that all residents in the province must be home from 11:30 PM to 6:00 AM.
Antwerp is both a province and a city and, even though I live in the middle of nowhere and an hour’s drive from the city, I do live in the province. And while the whole province is affected by this not-a-lockdown, it’s very much a case of the city driving these numbers upwards.
Not that I’m ever out — or even awake — at 11:30 in the evening. Except for the last weekend in August. How, or even if, the annual bat-spotting walk will work this year remains to be seen.
Following a marathon 10-hour crisis cell meeting, Antwerp’s provincial governor, Cathy Berx also announced that face masks would be mandatory in all public spaces for all residents above 12.
So that’s clear, at least.
The Antwerp city authorities have imposed further measures including an obligation to always carry a face mask.
As the number of new cases continues to grow across Belgium, the city of Antwerp has emerged as a hotbed for what experts fear might be a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
As far as I’m aware, there is no clear definition of what a second wave actually is, but these measures make Belgium the country with the strictest response in Europe.
It’s not a surprise, therefore, that there is some pushback. More surprising is that the legal basis is not actually in place yet. That said, I think we can effect these measures to take place in the very near future.
It will be a couple of weeks before we know how effective they have turned out to be. And I really hope that they do get the virus under control again, and quickly, because it’s going to be hard on the kids if the schools are not able to open again in September.